Famed nurse Florence Nightingale was a pioneer in infection prevention,
so it was only fitting that during the COVID-19 pandemic, HGH’s
Infection Preventionist should become her namesake.
Janet Sturtz, RN, was named the 2020 “Nightingale Nurse of the Year”
on Tuesday, May 12, the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth.
HGH Interim CEO Karen Cole told staff and community members gathered during
a video conference celebration that Nightingale dealt with filth, food
and supply shortages, and animosity from those who resented her leadership;
still, said Cole, “for the sick, she wanted the best; she wasn’t
afraid to speak up.”
HGH Chief Nursing Officer Leeann Cushway led the awards ceremony, which
recognized 21 nursing leaders and staff at Humboldt General Hospital for
that kind of leadership.
“You are the ones who are caring for patients,” Cushway told
the nurses, “you are the ones on the front lines, and we want you
to know we appreciate everything you do.”
Sturtz was chosen for the “Nightingale” honor following an
online process that allowed patients, community residents and staff members
to weigh in on the decision.
The result was a welcome 80 nominations that singled out the nursing professionals
for their compassionate and quality nursing care.
Cushway presented Sturtz with a plaque memorializing the nursing honor,
a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a stethoscope specially engraved with
Co-nominees, including Angelia Arenas, Denice Bauer, Heather Beach, Adriana
Calderon, Marlen Diaz, Robyn Dunckhorst, Vai Fuli, Erin Gallegos, Yolanda
Gardner, Adilene Gomez, Candice Hotz, Hannah Kohler, Shannon Leibfried,
Tiffany Love, Kristin Pointon, Monica Sartor, Kayhlin Sorenson, Angela
Street and Tina Wilson, were each honored with small gifts and copies
of their individual nominations.
Sturtz’s nominations painted a picture of a nurse who exemplifies
HGH’s core values.
“Since the whole pandemic started, Janet has been on the front line
fighting to get all of us the information that we needed,” wrote
one nominator. “I have seen her never-ending compassion to reach
out to all the positive COVID patients and family with the utmost respect
and patience to make sure that they all understand what they need to do
to remain safe.”
Nominators also touched on Sturtz’s competency, in learning and relaying
everything she could about COVID-19; on Sturtz’s professionalism
in offering calm and reassurance during periods of high stress and long
hours; of Sturtz’s teamwork, in ensuring inclusion of all staff
in recommendations and trainings; on Sturtz’s quality work, in doing
her job with precision and excellence; and on Sturtz’s dedication,
in working long hours seven days a week to ensure the correct collection
and follow-up for COVID-19 specimens.
“We would have been lost [without Janet] during this pandemic,”
wrote one nominator. “She has been such a reassurance . . . in this
time of crisis.”
Cushway surprised staff this year by also presenting a new award—the
HGH “Inspiring Nurse Leader”—to HGH Inpatient Manager
Bertha Higbee, RN.
Cushway said Higbee’s leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic has
been inspiring in every way, for physicians, staff and patients. Higbee
also received a plaque and a beautiful bouquet of flowers.
Florence Nightingale was a celebrated English nurse, writer and statistician
who came to prominence for her pioneering work in nursing during the Crimean
War where she tended to wounded soldiers. Nightingale was dubbed “The
Lady with the Lamp” after her habit of making rounds at night.
Nightingale laid the foundation of professional nursing with the establishment,
in 1860, of her nursing school at St Thomas’ Hospital in London,
the first secular nursing school in the world, now part of King's
College London. The Nightingale Pledge taken by new nurses was named in
her honor, and the annual International Nurses Day is celebrated around
the world on her birthday.
The HGH “Nightingale Nurse of the Year Award” was created to
recognize nurses who, like Nightingale, go above and beyond, especially
in their care of patients.
This is the 10th year for the HGH Nightingale Nurse of the Year Award. Past recipients
include Diane Nevis, LPN; Pam Ruark, RN; Robyn Dunckhorst RN; Michelle
Chadwell, RN; Bertha Higbee, RN; Tina Wilson, RN; Rita Clement, RN; Kathryn
Ourada, RN; and, Darlene Bryan, RN.
A wall display in the HGH lobby explains the award and honors past and